September 3, 2020 9:24 am
By: Dr. James C. Gilmore, M.D., FACS, MBA, Chief Medical Officer and Cardiovascular Surgeon
The first case of COVID-19 in Mississippi was diagnosed on March 11, 2020, and the first death from the virus occurred on March 19, 2020. Since that time, there have been over 84,000 cases diagnosed and more than 2,500 deaths in our state. Fortunately, the number of new COVID-19 cases is decreasing in our state. However, Mississippi is currently fourth in the nation in the number of new cases per 100,000 population. Although we are improving, we continue to be first in the nation in the number of patients that have required hospitalization. In the south, only Louisiana has more deaths per capita from COVID-19 than Mississippi. This can probably be attributed to the fact that Mississippi leads the nation in obesity, hypertension, renal failure, heart disease, and diabetes – all conditions known to increase the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 infections.
At MRHC, we have cared for 206 positive COVID inpatients and had 29 deaths, resulting in a mortality rate of 14.08%. The CDC reports a mortality rate of 19.5% for people with co-morbid conditions nationwide. The lower death rate at MRHC was accomplished through early planning and the dedication of the entire hospital staff. COVID-19 infected patients were isolated in negative pressure units with limited visitation, and protocols were developed to safely care for these patients.
There is potential to have some positive effect from this horrible pandemic. The role of telemedicine has been made more evident by this crisis. Hopefully, Mississippians will continue to wash their hands, and, perhaps, give more attention to their health – lose weight, exercise, quit smoking. Maybe we can be more appreciative of our neighbors who have sacrificed some of their freedoms to protect all of us.
For now, COVID-19 is still with us. Please continue wash your hands, wear a face mask, and practice social distancing. Be safe.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center